Year of Saint Joseph

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him [Joseph] in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” - Matthew 1:18-25

Pope Francis proclaims “Year of Saint Joseph”

With the Apostolic Letter “Patris corde” (“With a Father’s Heart”), Pope Francis recalls the 150th anniversary of the declaration of Saint Joseph as Patron of the Universal Church. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father has proclaimed a “Year of Saint Joseph” from 8 December 2020 to 8 December 2021. On these pages we will be celebrating Saint Joseph by sharing images and articles throughout this special year. 

The scriptures refers to Saint Joseph being upright and honourable. Certainly his sensitivity towards Mary and his care for both Mary and Jesus shows him as a person of action and care.

The Carmelite Order has had a particular devotion to Saint Joseph for many centuries, venerating him with the title "Principal Protector of the Carmelite Order". Since Joseph cared for Mary and Christ in a particular way, we believe that he also cares for the Carmelite Order which is devoted to Mary and Christ. Saint Teresa of Avila had great devotion to Joseph and saw him as a protector of her new foundations. 

In our prayers, we can turn to Saint Joseph and pray that he will care for us in difficult times when loving protection is needed.

Saint Joseph, the worker

During the Middle Ages, the feast of Saint Joseph on 19 March became popular when it was promoted by Servite and Franciscan preachers. Pope Sixtus IV (1471 - 1484) extended the 19 March feast to the church in Rome, and it eventually became a universal feast in the 16th century when the Council of Trent revised the Breviary and Missal.

Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903) described Saint Joseph as patron of the whole Church: “This is his numberless family … because he is the husband of Mary and the father of Jesus.” 

The Carmelites observed a feast to honour the Patronage of Saint Joseph on the third Wednesday after Easter. In 1955, Pope Pius XII (1939 - 1958) replaced that feast with the 1 May celebration that honours Joseph the Worker. He intended the feast to acknowledge Christian workers’ value and pay tribute to the nobility of human labour.

Earlier, Pope Francis continued this intention when he wrote on Twitter: “Today is the feast of Saint Joseph the Worker and also International Labour Day. Let us #PrayTogether for all workers, so that no one might be without work and all might be paid a just wage. May all benefit from the dignity of work and the beauty of rest”.

As Principal Protector of the Carmelite Order, may Saint Joseph guide and support all our labours for the Kingdom of God. In our prayers, we can turn to Joseph and pray that he will care for us in difficult times when loving protection is needed.

Let us pray..
God our Father,
creator and ruler of the universe,
in every age you call humanity
to develop and use our gifts
for the good of others.

With Saint Joseph as our example and guide,
help us to do the work you have asked
and come to the life you have promised.

We ask this through
our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

World Day of Prayer for Vocation

Pope Francis has written a letter to mark the 58th World Day of Prayer for Vocation, in which he highlights the trust and fidelity of Saint Joseph: attributes that enabled him to achieve something remarkable for God. The Holy Father urges all in consecrated life to see Jesus' earthly father as a model for service. The full letter can be read here.

Litany of Saint Joseph

Model of artisans,
Glory of home life,
Guardian of virgins,
Pillar of families,
Support in difficulties,
Solace of the wretched, Hope of the sick,
Patron of exiles,
Patron of the afflicted,
Patron of the poor,
Patron of the dying,
Terror of demons,
Protector of Holy Church,
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.
V. He made him the lord of His house:
R. And ruler of all His substance.
Let us pray.
O God, who in Thine unspeakable providence didst vouchsafe to choose blessed Joseph to be the spouse of Thine own most holy Mother: grant, we beseech Thee, that we may deserve to have him for our intercessor in heaven, whom we reverence as our defender on earth: who livest and reignest world without end. Amen.

Other articles and items of interest